Engineer Mountain Out and Back
ElevationAscent: 2,310' 704 m
Descent: -2,311' -704 m
High: 12,955' 3,949 m
Low: 10,702' 3,262 m
GradeAvg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 88% (41°)
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“An iconic mountain in the San Juans with gorgeous 360-degree views.”— aaron moore
For those wanting some extra mileage, once you get back to the junction in the meadow you can stay on the Engineer Mountain Trail and head south off of Coalbank and a trail will take you to Cascade Creek which is at the base of Coalbank Pass. You will need to hitch a ride back up to Coalbank if you are completing this extension.
Once you reach an open meadow, make your way up the Pass Creek Trail, though heavy vegetation might obscure the view. You'll see the defined path going up towards Engineer Mountain, and you should take it. There is a trail running mainly north and south, that is the Engineer Mountain Trail that you'll cross when going up towards Engineer Mountain.
From the meadow, you'll continue your ascent of Engineer Mountain via an unofficial trail. The area sees enough traffic that your way will be easy to discern. Rock cairns also mark the path. Take the switchbacking route to a nice viewpoint that some know as the Eagle's Nest. If you decide to keep going, you'll be scrambling and maybe using your hands on the way up. All in all, from the meadow you'll gain roughly 1300 feet in about .75 of a mile.
Good luck keeping your speed up in this section, the technical terrain will slow even the most experienced runners. While there is a trail, once you are actually on Engineer Mountain there is a fair bit of exposure and scrambling. Even though you are scrambling, Engineer sees enough traffic that a trail is visible on the way up. If you don't feel comfortable going on, it's okay! Stop, turn around, have a seat, and enjoy the views. There isn't a bad seat in the house!
Once you are done enjoying the views or have reached the summit, go down carefully and take the same way down back to your car.
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Land Manager: USFS - San Juan National Forest Office
Mar 25, 2020: Hermosa Park Road #578 closing for safety